Hayate No Gotoku! Cuties

November 9, 2013

After the lukewarm third season, I thought I was being overly sceptical when the fourth season was announced. Sceptical about if this fourth season was supposed to make amends and make up for the mediocre third season. And so with such feelings that I decided to give Hayate No Gotoku! Cuties a try and didn’t put my hopes up too much for it. After all, there is a saying about disappointment when you set the bar too high your expectation. Based on ‘historical track records’, the first season had 50 over episodes, the second had 25 and the third only a dozen. Going by this dwindling trend, it would likely to expect that there will only be 6 episodes, right? Well, no. It’s not going to look like OVA-like style number of episodes. It is still maintained at 12 episodes. But it’s not the number of episodes that determine the quality and enjoyment of this series.

As I read, the fourth season is somewhat a continuation of the third season (thankfully not a reboot) and takes place some time after the end of the events of that. Mainly it is because many of the characters that appeared with a decent amount of screen time back in the third season, also have their fair share of screen time this time around too. But you won’t see any other plot furthering here because as far as I can see, they are bringing back the randomness of the series by giving a character an episode to focus on. You can tell which character is going to be the main star for that episode when you see them introducing themselves with their brief specs of themselves flashing across the screen. Also introducing a new character which I believed only made a very short cameo at the end of the second season. The blonde loli named Athena Tennousu or A-tan as she is fondly known as. Hmm… Cuties… I can only think why the second title is named so because the girls are going to take centre stage. As is, QT, Quality Time. Geddit? Besides, there aren’t any notable guys in this series, right? Hayate? Everyone loves him when he cross-dresses, no? So cute enough to be a girl. Should have been one. Maybe it’s not too late…

Episode 1
Hayate introduces himself and his predicament including his special talent: Misfortune. And he is already getting into one by the way. We see Hayate working hard as the butler for Nagi and the rest of the apartment residence. Maybe Nagi is just a little irresponsible. She blames Hayate for not waking her up when he already tried to. So after a hard day’s work and putting back Nagi in her bed, Hayate goes to study for his exam which happens to be in 2 more days. He gets a little help from Hinagiku which stretches way past midnight. Then he continues more on his own. By the time he turns in, it is already 3.30am and he only has another hour of sleep before waking up to start the day with duties as a butler. However he notices something strange. Hinagiku who is usually up this early is nowhere to be seen. And then he sees Maria. She looks awful. She’s sick. If she is sick, could it mean Nagi is also sick? His worst fears come true. Soon, every other resident is also sick. Except for Ayumu. But she feigns illness when Nagi can even quip idiots like her won’t catch a flu. Hayate takes care of them for the entire day. A-tan warns him about his important exam. He will be expelled if he fails. Because he has a knack for attracting misfortune, she didn’t mince her words to tell him at this rate he will catch a cold and fall sick on exam day! And then A-tan catches a cold. So it’s nonstop work for Hayate to nurse everyone. On the important day, Hayate feels he is starting to get sick. Everyone is better but because Nagi is very worried and feeling guilty she might have passed on her cold to him, he had to put on his pride and stay strong that he is alright. He continues to put a strong facade in front of the rest that he is alright. After parting with Nagi at Hakuou, Hayate still has some time but he can’t rest because that’s where the jinx begins. He sees Fumi in some stupid stomach pain. Obviously he doesn’t want to help her but Fumi accuses him of turning a blind eye and being inhumane!!! If she had so much energy to accuse him, why didn’t she just walk herself to the infirmary? Why not ask Sharna?! And so Hayate has to take her there. Wasted energy. Wasted time. But that’s not the end. He is forced to help Saki read out some paperwork or else as she hinted it will be on his conscious if she dies in some freezing country… Then… Forced to fight some monster as requested by Isumi and Sakuya that requires his blood. Oh God… Hayate makes it in time to the exam room. But he can’t concentrate because stupid Yukiji is making bored sounds and then playing her stupid portable game. When she loses control of it and hits his head, Hayate didn’t lose his cool but breaks the handheld! That showed her. Somehow he manages to finish the exam. What a day. When he goes back, he is surprised the rest have prepared a meal for him and Maria some medicine. It is what they call, you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. But he can’t rest since Nagi mentions they are out of soy sauce so he goes out to buy them. Not without the misfortune coming along of course.

Episode 2
Nagi tells us how she is going to be a manga author but is spending her time playing video games. If Hayate’s gentle reminder won’t do, Maria just unplugs everything. There’s your answer. Nagi wakes up early on one Sunday morning perhaps because of her growling stomach. She sees Hayate in the kitchen and he cooks for her. She thinks it’s a ploy to get her sleepy again. She tries to resist by doing exercise but gives into the temptation. Yeah. She said she was just napping. When she wakes up, she heads over to Wataru’s store to rent some DVDs. She spots an R-18 video in the midst and is curious. To cover up her intention to rent this, she rents a whole stack of other DVDs as well. In her private tree house, she acts out that she rented so much and accidentally might have rented an R-18 video and thus no harm to see what’s in it. Nagi finds the disc differently labelled than the cover but proceeds to play the video. However it is not porn as Nagi will find out but the scariest horror movie ever! So scared she become that she wants Hayate to be with her for 24 hours! All the time. Does this mean even sleeping with her? At least till she falls asleep. But how can she sleep when Maria and Hayate are asking her if she has fallen asleep every second and talking if she had rented some R-18 video? So once she has fallen asleep, Hayate notices her murmuring in her bad dream and whispers to assure he has defeated all the bad guys. Next day when Maria is cleaning the tree house, she spots the R-18 video and decides to watch herself. After that she doesn’t want Hayate to leave her side… That scary, huh? Nagi won’t go to school since it’s raining and holes up in her room to sleep. Isumi suggests a famous quote to get her motivating since she is a simple minded person. Hayate tries one about hard work and there is a little reaction. So Hayate calls some of his friends to help out with famous quotes but Hinagiku’s is too advanced and Ayumu is just missing the point. He uses Chiharu’s quotes about being a loser and although this manages to get Nagi up, this makes her even wanting more to stay inside and play her video game. Maria comes back and Hayate tells her the problem. She gives Nagi some money and tells her to count it. Imagine it represents life and that amount represents her life till she lives till 80. If she turns her days into yen, she only has enough to buy a video game console. If she thinks she can afford to waste any of that, feel free to use any amount she pleases because that amount will not increase. What you spend is up to you. Nagi realizes the weight of her words and the importance every moment her life is. This has her fired up to go to school. Well, that did the trick and taught her a valuable lesson, didn’t it?

Episode 3
A-tan can’t explain much to us due to her lost memories as she is now Athena Tennousu (Alice version) but manages to tell us she is living in Hinagiku’s closet for some reason. While she is a sleepy head one morning, a big white dog ‘tackles’ her. Just to give an idea how big this dog is. It is the same height as her standing when it is sitting. Hayate finds a lost dog poster so that afternoon they try to find its owner. However it won’t take long because we see Fumi come running to claim her Armageddon. What a name… A-tan feels sad to part with it despite saying she doesn’t care for it. Fumi assures Armageddon loves her because of her hairstyle which resembles its favourite bread chocolate coronet! Wataru is surprised Sakuya left him some operating funds. In cash! 100 million! Then Hayate comes in to return Nagi’s video. Wataru is obviously worried if he is the one who is going to help bank in the cash with him. A debt ridden butler holding 100 million? Very ironic, isn’t it? And so worried Wataru goes Hayate and Saki to deposit but loses the suitcase of cash when Armageddon ‘tackles’ him. It ends up in Yukiji’s hands. Surprisingly, she gives it back and never wanted to steal it! Is this the Yukiji we know? Armageddon brings the suitcase back to Fumi, whom upon opening suddenly realize the sh*t she is getting in. Before she can wash her hands off, Sharna accuses her of stealing it! Even if Armageddon did it, since it is her dog so it makes her the one who also steals it! Sharna scares Fumi that if she is caught, she’ll be executed! Hayate searches for the suitcase and finds Fumi in panic mode. She really needs to find the suitcase so she can wipe off her fingerprints!!! Saki blames herself for being careless and if it is truly lost, she will quit the store and work hard to repay that amount. I wonder how long she will live. Armageddon brings the suitcase back to A-tan. Hayate calls the rest to assure the money is safe but A-tan points out the suitcase is empty. Dang.

Fumi forces Armageddon to talk Japanese. Woof! Woof! Who else can speak animal language? Hayate brings out Tama (in disguise – so as not to shock everybody about a talking tiger) and after a little quarrelling, it is revealed a couple of guys took them while Armageddon was passing the alley. A-tan has Armageddon sniff the suitcase for the scent and has the dog lead them. After several false leads (I guess Armageddon is hungry – always ending up at some food stall), they arrive at the abandoned building. Hayate sees Wataru there too. But they are most surprised to see Yukiji beating up the robbers to claims HER money! Had the duo not show up, she might have taken it and not give it back so obediently. Saki is relieved that the money is found. Wataru tells her never to say to quit because as long as she is with him, he doesn’t mind. Fumi is puzzled that Armageddon likes A-tan more than her. She concludes it’s her chocolate coronet hairstyle. A-tan changes her tone and curses the dog. Later, Nagi and A-tan find that they need to microwave some meat buns for lunch since Hayate and Maria are out. However they don’t know how to operate the machine and the buns end up melted. They get this idea to visit the cafe Hayate is working (to help out Ayumu) but it seems they lost their way. They thought they could rest at the vending machine. Either it doesn’t accept credit cards or they don’t enough credit in their pay cards. Always carry small change. As they hike up the slope, the last stretch to the cafe, they are tempted to enter the convenience store. But they resisted and continued their way seeing they want to taste Hayate’s cooking. So when they finally arrive, they start becoming demanding customers. What will they have for lunch? Meat buns!

Episode 4
Sakuya forces Isumi to do a joke with her to appeal to us how funny they are but it backfires on her. Isumi talks to her mom asking why she doesn’t have a maid like Nagi and Sakuya. It’s because she is responsible. Nevertheless, mommy goes to Hayate to request him to find a suitable maid for her daughter. Him? He too doesn’t think she needs one but on the contrary she points out she is not good using Smartphones. But do you need a maid to teach her that? So when they put up flyers for recruitment, guess who instantly took up the job? FUMI! Even Isumi has reservations on her judgment. How the heck can she pick a dud? Well, mommy feels her face is so much like those Smartphone emoticon, thus she is the best person for the job! WTF?! But when it is time for her to show her ability, Fumi tells them to Google it. I think her contract ends here. That night when Isumi gets a call from Sakuya. She didn’t pick it up because she thought her Smartphone was spoiled as it is ‘shaking’. Sakuya remembers how she hired Chiharu as her maid. When she showed no shame in front of her butlers while in her undies, they decided to begin a groundbreaking project to find her a perfect maid. So, how many millions have they ‘invested’ in this monitoring system spying on a maid cafe? They think Chiharu who works there is perfect but Sakuya thinks she is boring. However she sees her change in character when she dons the maid attire. Very much like having the qualities she desire. Still, she is sceptical. She goes to Nagi’s place just to complain that if only Hayate isn’t a butler but a maid. Yeah, I’m sure Nagi and Maria won’t mind that. Asking Nagi how she hired him, she replies it was fate. Later when she plays at the arcade, she didn’t how to play a gun shooting game. So happen Chiharu was next to her and teaches her. She even got the wrong idea when Chiharu mentions about protecting her (in the games sense). In the end, Chiharu is that nice and funny person she likes and hires her to be her maid. Back in present time, Sakuya visits Nagi who is having writer’s block for her manga. She is happy Chiharu is here to help with some ideas but Chiharu is surprised to see Sakuya. She reminds her that being her maid is supposed to be a secret from Nagi. Sakuya wants to help but Nagi scoffs her off as useless. Sakuya wonders how Nagi came to rely on Chiharu so much when she once relied on her. But this complicated feeling turns into annoyance because Sakuya is going to show how useful she is. However she can’t understand a damn thing when she reads Nagi’s manga. Even Hayate can explain all the complexity. Even Isumi points out she is one boring person not to really understand it. The only way to cure this is for her to wear a funny chicken suit. Then while she is dancing, doesn’t she look funny? On this basis, Isumi thinks she can understand the manga better. Of course not! When Nagi and Chiharu returns, Nagi wants Sakuya to read her work because she believes her good intuition. Isumi is proud to present Sakuya as an advanced manga reader. However Sakuya still can’t understand… Looks like she has a long way to go.

Episode 5
Yukiji convinces Hinagiku to film her for the school guide. Now will she do it in bikini? Suddenly coupons for Hinagiku’s forbidden swimsuit DVD come falling out of her sleeve. Oh shiii… Hinagiku isn’t fond of her 3 stooges fooling around. What more, she sees Hayate giving Miki a shoulder massage. She too would like to have one but is too shy to approach him. She really needs one and thinks of a way to make him offer one. Her chance came when he has her help him study. After all that hinting that she needs a shoulder massage comes to nought because that guy is too engrossed in his studies. Even if she needed one, her automatic pride has her say she doesn’t need one. Bummer. Hinagiku is suddenly called by Hayate. She is not happy it is a ploy by the 3 stooges to get her come to play at Nagi’s indoor resort. But appearing before them is Hayate’s rival, Gilbert (bet you didn’t remember him. So do I). Hayate easily beats him up so this loser wants a handicap by playing two-on-two beach volleyball (since he can’t best him one-on-one). Gilbert has a giant robot as his partner. Who will be Hayate’s? Gilbert thinks Hinagiku looks fragile and picks her. Everyone snickers with glee he just dug his own grave. But Hinagiku is happy to hear everyone calling her a fragile girl because it makes her look so feminine. Or so she thinks. Miki is upset Hinagiku didn’t wear a swimsuit but just t-shirt and shorts. Since when playing beach volleyball must always be played in swimsuit? When the match starts, Hinagiku tries to live up to her fragile girl status (so as to make Hayate look her way). So much so her acting is so bad it’s just horrible. Is this the Hinagiku we know? Till Gilbert gloats he knew she is fragile from the start because of her puny boobs! That’s when she snaps and fights back, destroying his robot. The sore loser summons more robots so Hinagiku pounds them till the robot is cowering in fear! Is this even beach volleyball? Gilbert then says she is breaking a fundamental rule! What rule?! Have they even been abiding it from the start?! The rule she violated is that she is not wearing a swimsuit. Hinagiku casts away her pride and rips off her t-shirt and shorts to reveal the swimsuit she is wearing and defeats the losers once and for all. In the end although Hayate thanks her, he lectures her about her sense of shame, feminine side, blah, blah, blah. Can you blame her for not turning into a wild beast and let him feel the same fate as those robots? Back home after bath, Hinagiku feels her shoulders stiff. To her surprise, Hayate is here to offer a shoulder massage and she accepts it.

Episode 6
Risa and Miki aren’t happy that Izumi introduces the group as Izumi and the rest. Risa is desperate to seek Hayate’s help. Though, he doesn’t look interested in what this idiot has to say. Anyway he has to since she is stealing his milk. Risa is concerned that people are labelling them as the idiotic trio (you mean you just realized this after 4 seasons?) and she thinks she is smarter than the rest. This causes Miki and Izumi to end up arguing with her so it is suggested that they compete to see who the king of idiots via video showdown is. The one who gets the least views online will get the honours and will have to do a punishment game with Hayate. Oh. He has to be involved somehow. Izumi shows Hayate the plant growing footage she is doing. How long will that take? She thought of speeding it up and accidentally snaps it! Game over. Then Miki shows her chicken eggs incubating video. But she got the eggs from the supermarket, right? That means they aren’t fertilized and are just rotten eggs. Wasted… Finally Risa shows off some cool contraption that launches balloons but failed. Boo hoo. So none of their videos worked out. What do we learn? They are all equally idiots! They won’t accept this comment from Hayate and make a fool out of him. While the 3 stooges are studying for a supplementary exam, Risa mentions something unforgettable for her birthday this year. Hayate wished her but gave no present. After pestering, bugging and making a big fuss about it, he just gives her a bookmark. Yeah. She won’t accept this discrimination. Miki thinks she needs to be popular so Risa calls Hinagiku but gets scolded to return and study. Then she calls Nagi and based on her manga magazine, she has to be cute. So if you blush, you’re deemed cute. Huh? With Hayate walking in at the right moment, they ask about his most embarrassing moments. It was so plain that they ignored him and have Izumi tell hers instead. Risa thinks Izumi is a panty flashing pro and wants her to experiment by letting Hayate lift her skirt. Why her? Because if she does it on herself, she can’t see how embarrassing she is! Idiot’s logic. Izumi disagrees and will lift it herself instead. But she becomes embarrassed so Risa and Miki are impressed with that look (Hayate wasn’t watching by the way). But they have to get back to studying since the test is coming up. Didn’t memorize anything, eh? Izumi is tasked to take some sheets to the classroom. She cannot lose them as they are sufficient for each student. However she got distracted by Shiranui and didn’t even realize the wind blew some away. Because of that, she is punished to clean the classroom herself. She accidentally drops a video camera in one of the desk. Trying to make sure it is still functioning, she records a test run. Since it is okay and that nobody is around, she films herself in a serious of impersonations and probably some (erotic) love drama with Hayate. She is freaked out when Shiranui taps on her shoulder. Then she realizes it is late as she cleans up but forgets all about the camera. Next day, she finds that the camera belongs to Miki. Worried that she may see everything since she didn’t erase it, to her relief the memory card is missing. So it was never recorded. Was it? The memory card is in Hayate’s hands…

Episode 7
Ruka’s manager is excited that Ruka has been booked to do an energy drink commercial. But Ruka doesn’t seem happy. So she visits the apartment to tell Hayate her dilemma. She can’t ride bicycles! Because riding it is part of the commercial. I guess there is only one way left since the shooting is tomorrow. But Ruka is pessimistic of her chances and even so is choosy about riding with training wheels. Leave it to Hayate to become the Spartan coach. Since they can’t practice in the apartment grounds (because Ruka trampled all over Maria’s farm!), Hayate takes her to practice at Hakuou’s grounds. First he asks if she would like the kind or strict way. Viewing herself as a pro idol, she chooses the latter. Hope she doesn’t regret it because Hayate really becomes the Spartan coach. One wrong move and he’ll shoot her with his water gun. First, he ties her hands to the handle and pushes her downhill! People tend to do the impossible when they face death? Hope she don’t die first. Ruka thinks she is going to crash but Hayate has got a firm grip on the bicycle. After some words of encouragement, looks like she has to go again. Well, practice makes perfect. Later, Nagi hopes Hayate could teach him too so he asks if she wants the kind or strict way. On another day whereby Ruka is supposed to perform a concert, Hayate is called to her dressing room. Why is he made to put on a maid outfit? Apparently one of her dancers for the last act fell sick. I guess nobody but Hayate could look good in a maid outfit while having exceptional butler skills. Hayate realizes Ruka’s left shoulder is in pain. During rehearsal she fell but as a pro, she has to hold it in and give an astounding performance to her fans. She also requests Hayate to be the one to help her change her dress after every 3 songs. He might be shocked to see her taking off her clothes before his eyes but he can’t be enjoying it seeing Ruka is holding in her pain and trying to do her best. On stage, Ruka continues to wow her fans like as though the pain never existed. During the penultimate song, Hayate spots Gilbert (a Ruka fan, I take). Gilbert thinks Hayate cross-dressed to trick him (because he loves girls) and summons his robot to beat him up. But Hayate won’t let him interrupt the concert and takes out the robot. The staffs mistake the robot as one of those final act dancers. When the final song begins, Hayate wants Gilbert to take it away but his controller broke. Before it could go haywire, Hayate kicks it off stage and then joins Ruka and the other animal dancers to cap a fabulous night. Back home, Maria is so enthralled in seeing Hayate’s cross-dressing (I bet she enjoyed it more than the concert) that she wants him to put on a female sailor uniform. Maybe he should just become a girl.

Episode 8
Ayumu is proud to tell us she knows Hayate the longest apart from the rest. Then she gets embarrassed at this rate the entire Japan will know she likes him (like, we’ve known it for ages). When her stomach growls, she is further embarrassed that Japan will further know her as a glutton. When Ayumu weighs herself, she is disheartened to know she has gained additional 3kg. She thinks the source is Hayate’s cooking for her whenever she works at the cafe. She tries to refuse his offer but can’t bear to let his hard effort goes to waste and eats it. Now here are more handmade cookies… On Ayumu’s birthday, she is sad nobody remembers and hopes at least Hayate would. He is up early baking cookies but I suppose jealous Nagi tells him just giving someone a present and be done with it won’t just cut. Chiharu suggests throwing a surprise party. Easy to talk because she lets Hayate do all the work. At the cafe, Hayate plans the party with Nagi, Hinagiku and the 3 stooges. However Ayumu walks in. In order for their plan not to be busted, they feign ignorance. At the same time, Ayumu is desperate for them to realize today is her birthday and tries to press real hard. The girls give all sorts of excuse on that date and then excuse themselves. Alone with Hayate, Ayumu isn’t going to waste this chance and at least make him remember. But Hayate must feign ignorance. He has to hold out for 2 hours! Thus it becomes a psychological battle and an intense one. Ayumu tries to lead him on but Hayate defends and ignores like hell. In the end, Ayumu loses out and leaves dejectedly. Hayate then calls the rest to prepare the party and when it is done, Nagi has the honours to call her to come back with an excuse she forgot something. But Ayumu doesn’t mind anymore. She has no heart to come back tonight. Till Nagi sucks in her pride to tell her off she wants her ass right here right now because she is lonely and needs somebody to talk to. Ayumu returns and is given a birthday surprise. She is so happy and hugs Nagi. I think she got the wrong idea.

When Hayate is about to leave for the night, Ayumu seizes this chance to walk home with him with an excuse that Japan is a crime laden nation. Yeah, with all those espers and evil super organization, nobody is safe at night especially if you’re a lone girl. Ayumu treasures this moment and doesn’t want to speed up walking home. She gets to prolong that chance when she remembers she left a notebook in her classroom. Hayate agrees to accompany her so she can retrieve it. At school, Hayate had some serious thoughts. If his parents never left him with this debt, he might have enrolled in this school and probably be going out with her now and didn’t reject her like that last time. On the way out, they realize something amiss. Sneaking in was too easy and where was the teacher supposed to be on patrol? Maybe a thief broke in and tied him up? You don’t say… There’s the teacher all tied up!!! Ayumu rushes ahead to get something to cut the rope when the big bad thief (seriously, isn’t that a Hollow from Bleach in a knight’s armour?) is about to chop her. Hayate in his reflex uses Ayumu’s notebook as a sword to put him out of commission. He warns not to touch her because she is an important person to him. Although her notebook is destroyed, she feels very happy. And she thinks she lost some weight during the chaos too. Double happiness.

Episode 9
Hayate hosts a talk show with Chiharu and Kayura as guests. Since the topic is on maids, Chiharu tries to pretend she doesn’t know but I guess her natural experience makes her a dead giveaway. Chiharu is caught in the act by Aika, acting out some manga she just read. This prompts Aika to comment she is cute when she is unguarded. That, is the word of this episode. Chiharu sees Nagi playing her handheld and thus her panties are ‘unguarded’. She flusters when she realizes too late. They think they connect when they realize they watch the same anime. However they soon argue as their opinions differ. Chiharu acts it out and Hayate sees this. Unguarded. Embarrassed? Chiharu walks on and realizes that there are many others who are shamelessly unguarded. Hinagiku whom she thinks is the most unguarded is well, the most guarded because even though she doesn’t look like it, she catches the baseball with her hand before it smashes into her face. Chiharu plays at the arcade to relieve some stress. Nagi is there too. Don’t tell me she’s here to relieve stress too. So the girls get into some intense racing while arguing about that unguarded topic. So much so the arcade employee had to tell them off not to be rough with the machine. Since there is going to be a BBQ gathering, Chiharu has Hayate accompany her to shop for ingredients. She notices his consideration for girls and asks him what happens if a girl confesses to him. He replies in a stupid question instead. Ruka is here for the gathering as she talks to Ayumu. She asks her if Hayate would be her boyfriend if she confesses! Shock! Did you see this coming? Ruka realized her feelings for him when he taught her how to ride a bicycle and thought of deepening their relationship. Ayumu is on alert mode and needs to stop this idol so she gives excuses her confession will futile because Hayate who lives in the apartment with different girls has not even made a single move. Ruka concludes that confessing is not enough and wonders if a kiss would do. Ayumu smacks her! Calm down.

When Hayate returns, Ruka asks him what happens if a girl confesses to him (I guess there’s no stopping her even if this seems like an indirect confession). But Hayate thinks this is a joke because Chiharu just asked the same thing. The girls realize there is another rival. Hayate adds that there is no way Chiharu would have feelings for him because it would be plain embarrassing. Shock? That’s good and bad news, no? Ayumu and Ruka spy on Chiharu and Hayate making the BBQ ingredients together and realize there is nothing going on. They start to pity Chiharu and conclude any girl who falls for Hayate will have it rough. But their bells are on alert again when they see Kayura interacting weirdly with him. They think it is her way of attracting his attention by assuming some weird character. Hayate and Nagi remember how Kayura first came to this place. She put up a tent in the yard. She was an oddball then as she is now. She considers herself a genius since she skipped grades to enter Hakuou. Hayate didn’t seem as surprised as she hoped. Nagi extends her hand to be her friend but Kayura views it as cheap. Hayate takes Kayura to tour Hakuou’s ‘famous attractions’ including the sleeping and drunken Yukiji. Kayura is happy to view the city below atop the clock tower and feels she will enjoy it here and makes friends with Nagi. But Nagi quips she doesn’t go to school often… Kids, don’t do that. Then Hayate brings Kayura to see the famous Hinagiku-halfway-changing-behind-the-door. Funny. He didn’t even bat an eyelid while doing that. It’s like he’s taking all this normally and as a joke. But it’s not funny for Hinagiku as she beats him up. Back in present time, after the BBQ, Hayate goes upstairs to return Hinagiku’s shirt. The talk about unguarded with Chiharu must have distracted him because history repeats itself when he opens Hinagiku’s door and she is in the midst of changing. Again, that silly grin. Again, that frustrated Hinagiku. Again, the beating. Next time, please knock.

Episode 10
When Maria introduces herself, Makimura butts in wondering if she has a boyfriend. Is she here just to show off her robotic Eight boyfriend? When Makimura fixes Yukiji’s broken walkman, she thought she is a genius but Makimura points out somebody else was better than her. She is Maria and she was the student council president of Hakuou and Makimura as her vice president. Due to her exceptional results, she skipped grades and thus she is younger and petite for a person for her grade. Makimura has recorded several embarrassing videos of Maria (like a stalker) since she has her own set of (otaku) fans. Upon seeing them, Maria instantly throws it at the wall. Her hands slipped. When Makimura leaves for a while, Maria tries to record her voice although embarrassed. Makimura returns in the midst of it and she instantly slams it on the ground. Her hand slipped. Back in present time, the tape is with Makimura but she never knew what is on it since the recorder was broken. Never bothered to try on another player? Yukiji wants to hear but suddenly Maria pops up to retrieve it. What? How? If she wants to hear, be her guest. But her hand may slip… Maria is surprised Hayate receives a love letter. But that guy wants to know how to reject the girl despite Maria advising he should at least meet her and date her if she’s cute. She’s joking, right? However inside the letter is written with nothing but “I love you!”. Gosh. Yandere material! Since there is a returning address, he wants to write the politest reject letter. But Nagi won’t have it that way and writes it for him before posting it. I’m not sure which anime influenced her now. When they get back, the reply letter just arrived in their mail! Super fast. This time it is written “I’ll kill you!” all over! In red! True yandere material! Nagi’s solution is to do a classic romantic comedy. Say what? Ayumu is walking in the streets and dreams of a romantic comedy with Hayate when she sees Maria in such classic scene meeting up with Hayate. Can this be true? What gives? Seems this is all part of Nagi’s plan to make them date so as to make the yandere stalker give up on them. Provided if she is watching. Well, it’s not Ayumu even though she’s tailing them like a stalker.

Hayate and Maria feel awkward trying to follow the script and hold hands. Unknown to them, all the guys are burning with jealousy for him to hold hands with this super cute maid. Another revelation is that the love and yandere letter was written by that father ghost (I forgot his name). He wrote that letter since Isumi gave him stationery and he was bored and wrote it as a prank. Now he is upset Hayate is out on a date with Maria and vows to put a stop to it. As part of the date, Maria wants Hayate to cross-dress! Must he? Do it. When Ayumu sees this, look how disappointed her face is. Next in the plan is for Maria to try a swimsuit. Hinagiku is nearby and sees them. Because Maria is so embarrassed and keeps telling Hayate not to look, what does this scene look like? See the disappointment on her face. Ayumu takes Hinagiku along to spy on them. Now we have 2 stalkers. After Maria buys and wears new clothes, the final plan is at the aquarium. Hayate saves her from being splashed. Their face got too close and they fluster. Maria can’t believe she flustered over that and feels the need to act mature. When she says it’s not like she has any feelings for him, it made her sound like a tsundere. Father priest disguises as a penguin and plans to jump into Maria’s arms. No one can resist a cute penguin, right? When he leaps, Hayate catches him instead. Maria uses this chance to quip how childish he looks. A devastating blow to father spirit. He won’t be back. They bump into Ayumu and Hinagiku who wonder if they’re on a date. Hayate explains and clears up the misunderstanding so off they go. On the way back, Maria notes she enjoyed the fake date (don’t tell me because Hayate cross-dressed) and hopes she’ll find someone like him.  Make it simple. Why not him? She gets embarrassed when Hayate wonders if she said something so she chides him off for lacking delicacy. Maybe not just yet.

Episode 11
As far as I understand this couple of final episodes are an original story from this series’ creator and serves as an alternate ending to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. It’s quite hard to understand what is going on (since it goes back and forth between the dream and current situation) so to sum up in a nutshell: Hayate tries to kiss a girl! Woah! It all starts with Hayate having this weird dream inside the black camellia and meeting a pair of freaks, a tanuki doll and a clock with limbs. After he wakes up in the morning, first thing he asks Maria if she has kissed anyone. Klaus serves kisu fish to Chiharu, Ayumu and Kayura but the former duo flusters because it sounds very close to the word kiss. At Hakuou, Hinagiku, Sakuya, Isumi and the 3 stooges are discussing that they have this weird dream of kissing Hayate. Izumi is targeted by her idiots to kiss Hayate so they can upload it on the internet. Although Hinagiku is embarrassed to have such a dream, she didn’t expect Hayate to come in and ask her to kiss him! He almost got sliced by her sword! The gang continue to talk about this and whoever wants to kiss Hayate at least needs to be in love with him but as Aika points out, nobody will since he is indecisive, dense, insensitive and broke. She hit all the right points. Kayura disagrees and shows proof that there are people twisted enough to love troublesome guys like him. Case in point: Kaoru tries to ask Yukiji out! Seriously?! Him?! I feel Yukiji is only in because he agrees to treat her to booze. Hayate realizes with so many of them having that dream, maybe what those freaks said were true. So when Hayate dreams of them again, he wants to know what’s going on especially since the powers of the black camellia should have subsided. They tell him he has got not much time left to fool around.

Hayate ponders if anyone really loves him when he bumps into Ayumu. She too had that dream. Then she realizes this is the exact same spot they first met. Hayate remembers it was when he had to quit ordinary school and end up being Nagi’s butler. He thinks she would be okay for him but they had to break up when stupid Fumi starts pointing out that they were going to kiss. And why is she so disappointed that they separate without kissing? Whose fault is that? Hayate soon creates a list of those he failed to kiss. That’s almost about every main girl we know, right? Yeah. He got a taste of A-tan’s taser. But he notices Maria didn’t have the same dream like the rest. Talking to her, he realizes that the time limit to this kissing thingy is true. He gets an idea to surprise kiss her and then shrug it off as an accident but do you think a guy like Hayate can pull that off? So he goes off to who knows which girl’s place to ask for a kiss and of course gets violently rejected. Maria calls Hinagiku about Nagi. Next day at school, Isumi detects some bad omen so Hayate is made to tell everything about the tanuki and clock freak. To Isumi, it is a clear sign of something ominous. When Risa mentions Hayate tried to kiss her in her dream, Hayate remembers the time limit of midnight if he doesn’t get the kiss done, he will forever be separated from Nagi (as shown isolated and happily playing video games unaware her subconsciousness is trapped inside black camellia). It is his last chance to cease the cries of the black camellia. The scene suddenly changes as we see cross-dressed Hayate fighting against the drunken monster known as Yukiji. Is he seriously aiming for this drunkard?! I know he is desperate and probably a drunkard won’t mind or remember a kiss but Yukiji of all people?

Episode 12
These are the events that led to that scene. Maria sees Nagi uncomfortably in her sleep and senses something wrong. Hayate goes home and tries to get a change of clothes when A-tan comes up to him. She doesn’t mind kissing him and since she understands it’s to help Nagi. Before they can do it, father priest stops them and gives his stupid 1001 reasons why he can’t. A-tan is annoyed and zaps them both. Armageddon then steals his new butler clothes. Hinagiku couldn’t get Hayate and wonders if he has kissed yet. She bumps into Ayumu along the way as well as the 3 stooges at the diner and they talk about this. Soon, Ruka joins them after sneaking out from her tight schedule. She is here to return his butler uniform. Going back further in time, when Ruka was shooting her energy drink commercial, she accidentally crashes into Hayate and he fell into the river. The only clean change of clothes that fitted him was her idol outfit. She also knows about the dream and is willing to kiss him. Before they can get to that, Kayura beats Hayate up and lectures him why he can’t do that because of her status as an idol. Imagine the rage it will cause when this leaks to her fans who treat her like God. Kayura tells him to kiss Chiharu because she is weak and will do it under pressure. Hayate calls her but she is in the midst of her job and can’t leave so they agree to meet at the park later when her replacement arrives. Meanwhile, Isumi and Sakuya are at Yukariko’s grave and pick up the watch (black camellia). At the park, Hayate calls Chiharu but she is still not off from her job. He waits but he is attracting stares from others. Chiharu calls him and since time is running out, Hayate says he wants to kiss her and this takes her by surprise. Hinagiku gets a call from Maria about Nagi acting weird. She is determined to help him even though it is a dream, she wants to do all she can for him. Ayumu and Ruka support her so everybody gets up to head to the park.

Hayate is desperately seeking for anybody to kiss at the park. God answered his prayers: Drunk Yukiji sleeping in the bushes. Yeah. Anybody. He is going to kiss her but Yukiji wakes up and dares him to challenge and defeat her if he wants to kiss. That’s when the battle starts and Yukiji is quite good with her drunken fist style! In the end, Hayate wins because too much alcohol took effect. He won’t be able to kiss her since Kaoru is looking for her and brings her home. Hayate is at a loss on what to do. Then all the girls converge and ask him to decide which one of them he wants to kiss. Wow. Now he is spoilt for choice. So why hesitate? Ah, the ‘battlefield’… The freaks are watching him and feel pity. Perhaps it was too much for him. Nagi who has just finished her game sees what is going on. She is going to do something about it. Before Hayate could decide (not like he did anyway), Nagi is seen hobbling towards him (with Maria’s help). Hayate sees black camellia in Isumi’s hands and realizes Nagi is actually still trapped in it. Nagi wants to go home but Hayate is still worried about the kiss. She tells everyone off if they are okay with that. Kissing someone for that kind of reason. She doesn’t mind staying trapped in black camellia although she won’t be able to watch her animes or read her mangas because Hayate is more important to her. She isn’t worried because if anything happens, she has him. This made Hayate open his eyes. He catches Nagi as she returns to her slumber. Realizing it was wrong to ask for a kiss easily even if it’s was her sake, a kiss is something that everyone treasures and not to be taken lightly. Since he doesn’t want her to sleep forever, he kisses her. On the forehead. Nagi wakes up but the other girls are somewhat surprised. They didn’t think it was a kiss on the forehead. What kind of kiss were they expecting? Embarrassed yet relieved. If he had been clearer from the start… With the curse lifted, Shin (the clock) and Yukariko (tanuki) move pass on.

Cute But Not Beautiful
I’m not particularly that thrilled at how the special twin original episodes ended this season. Somehow I feel that the magic of this series is slowly disappearing. Maybe it’s my fault on my part because even though I said I wasn’t putting much expectation into it, I still can’t help hope deep down inside my heart that there will be something that would surprise or amaze me. Only the part whereby Ayumu and Ruka ponder about Hayate being their boyfriend. I thought it would be interesting seeing Hayate had a serious thought there for the moment about who would have been his girlfriend had he not walked this path in life. I thought there would be finally some sort of love polygon involving Ayumu, Ruka and Hinagiku. And though it really seemed interesting, thinking back the kind of guy Hayate is, I don’t think we’ll ever see him getting a girlfriend. Of course with Nagi being his master, there’s this tendency for many to pair them together but what are the chances? Maybe they can do alternate spin-offs for that. Multiple ending routes for Hayate for different girls. Sounds interesting?

In the end, those hoping to see Hayate getting closer to any one of the girls would be somewhat disappointed. Last season he had that sort of date with Hinagiku and in this season, it is Maria’s turn. It feels like they’re trying to tease us and making our hopes go up that some sort of romance would blossom. As when Hayate seriously ponders such thought, it is just the spur of the moment and no follow up after that. No doubt that almost every main and supporting female character in this series has a liking for Hayate. Some are more obvious than others and even those who don’t look like it can be said to suspiciously have them. Like the 3 stooges, their overall personality are comical idiots. There is a high chance you might not think they have a thing for Hayate. But as seen in that short delusion of Izumi, one can speculate that there is more going on beneath their idiotic looks. Being idiotic is just their characteristic which might not necessarily be the same with matters of the heart. As long as Hayate doesn’t commit, everyone has a fair chance. But they’ll have to wait till kingdom come if he is to decide. If he decides. Thanks to his density and strong sense of duty and loyalty, it’s safe to say that this won’t turn into a harem romance anime even if the setting is begging for it to be turned that way.

Putting in character focused episodes seemed like fun and reminiscent of how the earlier seasons of this series was about (at least that is how I remembered them) and I personally I liked it better than the black camellia alternate ending since it was a bit confusing and I don’t really remember much of the plot for Can’t Take My Eyes Off You although I watched that not too long ago. It’s nice to see that the main characters have their moment of limelight but seeing that this series had too many characters, the number of episodes that permitted perhaps couldn’t possibly quite cover them all. For instance, what happened to that sister Sonia? She is totally missing in this season. What about those butlers from season one that has more limelight than their young masters, Nonohara and Himuro? Maybe they are just very minor characters but somehow I can’t help think and thought they are big supporting characters (is it because they are butlers like Hayate?). So far they have not appeared in subsequent seasons thus I think they are really just minor characters. Tsugumi and Dolly from Can’t Take My Eyes Off You did not return here and not even mentioned. It’s like as though they never existed. I thought Klaus won’t be appearing this season but since his very brief cameo in the final episode, I can’t say his appearance was just limited to his name appearing on a wooden block in the first episode. I have a feeling that they don’t want to make this old geezer the butt of butler jokes so there is no comical feel to him. Tama at least made a dialogue appearance as opposed to last season even if it’s for just a few lines.

A bit of a disappointment for me is the character A-tan. I thought that she would be a regular and was hoping to learn more about her. Like how she ended up living in the Hinagiku’s closet or her relationship with Hayate as his first girlfriend. None of that is ever addressed partly due to the character focused nature of this series. Maybe I should just go read the manga, eh? And then just when I resigned to the fact that she would just make cameos in episodes that is not her focus, after her own focused episode featuring Armageddon, she ‘disappeared’. The one character which I hoped for to have her own focused episode but didn’t is Fumi. I love this crazy girl (especially made crazier and funnier by Kana Asumi’s joker voice). I had a feeling that she might not get such a dedicated episode but since she is making short cameos in every episode, I also thought it would be suffice that her appearance would be that way. But after that maid hiring fiasco row, she ‘disappeared’. Man, I really wished for her to have her own spin-off series. Although still over the top wacky, at least in this season we don’t hear her spouting about her feuding family like how she always subtly hint in the previous season. That’s the thing about having too many characters. With Hayate as the main character, many of such characters are like on and off. Even I feel Nagi and Maria aren’t as prominent.

This season also has its funny moments and just like last season, the mid-intermission is a couple of Commercial Connecting Theatre and features short comical skits. There also lots of trivia and parodies (including famous quotes from other animes) for you to spot and even though it is not as much as the first season. Partly due to my lack of knowledge in this area too but I did manage to spot a few like that Hollow from Bleach, the parody manga of Baka To Test To Spice (Horo? WTF?!), Sailormoon’s trademark mini skirt dressing, Kayura dressed as Kyousuke from Zettai Karen Children and a parody of that anime called “Zettai Curry – Chilled, Even?” (cleverly parodied!). It is also fun to spot worldwide famous companies with their parodied names (to avoid lawsuits of course) such as American Exponents (American Express), Cutbank (Citibank), Samy Malkman (Sony Walkman), 8-Eleven (7-Eleven), PFP (PSP) and Ybox (Xbox 360).

Since every episode is character focused, to add to the ‘unique’ feature of this season, every ending theme is also different and is sung by that character’s seiyuu. Ranging from typical anime pop to slow ballads, each song serves like a character image song. Those that don’t sound too bad are Maria and Ruka. Also, the ending credits animation is ‘spammed’ with those characters (although other characters sometimes appear but to a minimum). If you really love them and can’t get enough, here’s your chance to feast your eyes on them. Heck, you can just Google it and download such related images. There is only one opening theme, Haru Ulala Love Koi by Hinagiku’s seiyuu. Sounds okay but not that appealing to me. With Ruka as the idol, there are a few insert songs during her focused episode but again, they don’t sound that attractive to me.

Maybe as the seasons pass, I feel the more it has caught on Hayate’s misfortune due to the declining charm that I once found in the series. If there are future sequels or OVAs, it will be down to solely nostalgia and ‘past glory’ reasons that I will continue to watch this. Is there anything that Hayate can do to reverse this misfortune? Perhaps if he starts cross-dressing maybe that will turn things around. At least for many of the girls who would love to see him permanently in a dress. One’s misfortune is the pleasure of others. Because Hayate can do and overcome anything that is thrown to him. Except clearing off his 150 million Yen debt. Well, it proves Hayate is at least still human despite some of his exaggerated superhuman feats. To borrow a trademark line from To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Touma: “Fukou da!” (“Such misfortune!”).

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